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REAL WEDDING:: Shavonda Chambers + Dornell Forté {FOREVER FORTE}

westin new orleans wedding


Written by: Jessica Burke |  Photos: Rare Sighting Photography

shavonda + dornell’s story

“We met at a time when neither of us wanted to date. As fate would have it, we clicked instantly. We said we’d be friends only but that all changed after one date to the movies. He actually proposed during the pandemic. It was the weekend before my birthday and I was sad that I wouldn’t be able to see my family. We went to pick up our son and when we got back they were all in front of the house with gifts and signs. I was in tears and then I turn around and he’s on one knee professing his love and asking me to be his wife. I had the ugliest of ugly cries. I said yes once I was able to gather myself.” – Shavonda

congo square wedding
Shavonda wore a stunning Lena Berisha gown, and both the bride and groom wore Christian Louboutin shoes.

wedding party photo in louis armstrong park

white and gold acrylic wedding signage

their favorite wedding day moment

“Our favorite part was meeting at the end of the aisle,” shares Shavonda. The day of the wedding brought with it a lot of stress but that all melted away at the ceremony. “Once I got to the end of the aisle a wave of calmness came over me and nothing that was stressing me out prior to that point mattered,” she shares.

the bride walks down the aisle

the groom reacts as he sees the bride for the first time

Shavonda and Dornell meet at the end of the aisle.

the bride and groom hold hands during the wedding ceremony

wedding traditions

“We included traditional African practices in our ceremony,” says Shavonda. The ceremony took place in historic Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans, officiated by Baba Obafemi Fayemi.

congo square wedding

bride and groom jump the broom
The happy couple jump the broom.

the wedding reception

Shavonda planned and designed the wedding herself. She and Dornell wanted to be close to the water, so they chose the Westin New Orleans Riverbend Ballroom overlooking the Mississippi River for their wedding reception.

the westin new orleans riverbend ballroom

the first dance with fog special effect

The first dance included dramatic fog special effects.

The wedding cake

TAG Heuer watch groom's cake
The groom’s cake was a replica of Dornell’s TAG Heuer watch!


GETTING READY LOCATIONS: Westin Hotel New Orleans + Eliza Jane Hotel | CEREMONY LOCATION: Congo Square | OFFICIANT: Baba Obafemi Fayemi | RECEPTION: Westin Hotel New Orleans | REHEARSAL DINNER: Space Seven Nola | BRIDE’S GOWN: Lena Berisha | BRIDESMAIDS’ GOWNS: Jenny Yoo, Wedding Belles Bridal Boutique | MENSWEAR: Men’s Wearhouse | PHOTOGRAPHY: Rare Sighting Photography | VIDEO: Angel Wing Films | FLORALS: Blooms by Briana | WEDDING CAKE: Pretty Little Things Cupcakes and Cakes | GROOM’S CAKE: Jenny’s Cake Creations | CEREMONY MUSIC: Michaela Harrison + Joy Clark | RECEPTION ENTERTAINMENT: DJ VJ | TRANSPORTATION: Riculfy Livery | HAIR: TraElle Salon (color) + Amanda Ancar (styling) | WEDDING DESIGNER, DECOR RENTALS + LIGHTING: Fleur Du Nola Designs | DAY OF COORDINATOR: Elle R Jae Events | JEWELERS: Ramsey’s Diamond Jewelers + Lee Michaels | FAVORS: Bride and Groom, Jacqueline Firven (pralines) | INVITATIONS:: Pietra Paper Designs | DANCE FLOOR WRAP: AD Event Group



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